In this innovative production, mismatched chairs and lights hang from the ceiling of CU-Boulder’s black box theater, and the set is a minimal arrangement of flea-market props. Nichols says the organized chaos is meant to channel the mental instability of the play’s main character, King Leontes.
“We wanted to create this fragmented environment out of found objects that resonates with the inside of Leontes’s mind,” said Nichols. “The play is so much about the king’s sense of self coming apart and deteriorating, followed by the realization of what he’s done, followed by healing and coming back together.”
The Shakespeare veteran characterized his production as a “loose” interpretation. During shows, the cast will casually move among the audience, often changing costumes onstage and performing within inches of seated patrons.
“We’re doing a version of what’s called immersive theater,” he said. “For years and years I wanted to do a Shakespeare play in the Loft Theatre so I could get really creative like this. And for about six years now, I’ve wanted to do ‘The Winter’s Tale’ here.”
“The Winter’s Tale” tells the story of a Sicilian king who condemns his wife and disowns his newborn child in a fit of irrational jealousy, only to realize the enormity of his mistake years later. It’s a timeless story of sadness and regret, tinged with moments of lighthearted humor.
“With this play, some say Shakespeare invented the concept of a tragicomedy,” said Nichols says. “The first part takes place in the royal court and is quite tragic, and by contrast the second part is outside at a sheep-shearing festival and is much more comic.”
One thing that sets this play apart from Shakespeare’s other work, Nichols explains, is that 16 years elapses between two acts. It’s enough time for Leontes, the Sicilian king, to realize the grave error he made in condemning his queen and disowning his daughter.
“They say time heals all wounds,” he said. “What Shakespeare suggests in this play is, things may not turn out the way you want, but even life-changing problems do tend to resolve over time.”
- Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 31, at 2 pm.